Astore Town is renowned for its versatile natural beauty and access to a number of world’s unique mountain attractions. This beautiful mountain town is located at an altitude of 2600m with availability of basic necessities, communication and routine business facilities. The Shina is the common language while Urdu is the second most frequently spoken language in Astore and surroundings. Agriculture and livestock is the main source of income for locals while many of Astore men seek work in the major business cities of Pakistan.
The best months to visit Astore are from June to September. The entrance of the valley is located about 60 km southeast of Gilgit at Jaglot. This broad valley is populated with more than 100 villages including Trashing, Loas, Louze, Chilam, Bubin, Gurikot, Parisheng, Fina, Bulen, Chongra, Tari Shing, Rattu, Kamri, and Minimarg.
Astore town is an excellent base for many of climbing, trekking and jeep riding activities. A broad area starting from the Nanga Parbat to Deosai and Kamri has enough of interest for tourists and adventure lovers.
Rama Pastures and Lake
The Rama pastures and Lake can be named as the most fascinating part of Astore Valley. Under the heights of Nanga Parbat massif, this high altitude summer pasture is supremely rich in greenery. Rama Valley is thickly forested with huge pine, cedar, fir and juniper trees. The Rama Lake is a greenish lake at an altitude of 3400 meters 4KM from the Rama forests.
At an altitude of 2900 meters, the Tarishing is a beautiful village at the feet of Nanga Parbat massif. It can be a good jeep safari to Tarishing for views of Chongra Peak (part of Nanga Parbat massif) and the Tarishing Glacier. The beautifully cultivated village among the high mountains itself is a great place to visit. Tarishing is also an important base for many trekkers and climbers heading up for Nanga Parbat, Rupal and Mazeeno pass.
This is the most wanted jeep safari for the tourists of Astore Valley. It can be a long day return from the world’s highest plateau and the famous Shausar (Shaucer) Lake. Some tourists prefer to drop at Skardu by crossing the Deosai from Astore.
The Nanga Parbat massif is the focus of attention for all the climbing activities in Astore Valley. This Killer Mountain is the toughest challenge for every climber who dreams to attempt the eight-thousandars. Among the other climbing possibilities, the Chongra and Rupal peaks are the major attractions for climbers in the Astore valley.
The trekkers of Astore valley have some excellent opportunities as well. These possibilities range from easy to technical and strenuous treks. Among the famous routes for trekkers are Rama pastures and lake, Tarishing to Fairy Meadows via Mazeeno Pass, Tarishing to Rupal and back, Astore to Skardu via Deosai Plateau, Astore to Skardu via Banak Pass, Minimarg to Domel and Chotta Deosai* and Kamri to Taobutt in Neelam Valley* are important to mention.
*The region beyond Chilam towards Minimarg is restricted and needs permission from FCNA Headquarters, Gilgit.
Astore to Neelam Valley Jeep Safari
In addition to Deosai, Tarishing and Minimag, there is another thrilling jeep ride option for travel enthusiasts. A less known and difficult but scenic jeep road links the Astore to the Neelam Valley in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. This route is also called Astore-Shounter Valley road. The Shounter Valley starts from the Kel in Neelam Valley and ends at the Shounter Pass (3800 meters) which separates the Azad Kashmir from Astore Valley.
Where to stay
Although there are few hotels in Astore Town and a beautiful PTDC motel at Rama but the night stay options are comparatively less than the other mountain towns of Gilgit-Baltistan. The Rama PWD Rest House may also be a great option for those who can get a permit.
Transport and Access
From Rawalpindi, busses and vans leave for Astore daily. The usual time from Rawalpindi to Astore is 18 hours which usually expand upto 24 hours due to the road conditions. The distance from Gilgit to Astore is 112 KM and takes about 4 hours by road.
For air traveling, two flights between Islamabad to Gilgit are scheduled by Pakistan International Airline (PIA). The air travel is also subject to the weather conditions around the Nanga Parbat region.
The availability of Jeeps in Astore Town is good for further traveling in the heights and depths of Astore valley.